Chronicles of Draezoln

Tales of the world of Draezoln

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Chapter 6-1

Chapter 6: Wounds

“Battlefields are the playgrounds of the Infernals, and war their favored pastime. The only righteous war is one which is waged when standing by would be the greater sin. In this, I see much of men’s persuasion, seeking to justify themselves in their greed. Nor are many dragons free of this sin, for while they do not wage war as such, many do kill more to feed their hunger for gold than out of necessity.”

“A respect for all life is one of the greatest precepts of the followers of Bahamut. It is this that separates us from the adherents of Tiamat, who hold that dragonkind is the only form of life with any value. And it separates us also from those who selfishly view themselves as the most valuable life in the world. I find that, in the end, we have the most joy from our path.”

They stopped briefly, while Captain Telarnen spoke with a sentry who had met their scouts at the top of the hill. Soon the sentry rode off towards the town in the valley, while Telarnen gathered his Company around him.

“This is our situation,” he began. “Ahead of us is Garnot, the only place it’s practical to cross the Green River with an army for a couple hundred miles in either direction—at least as long as the last bridge still stands. We’re at a stalemate here, with our side holding this side of the river, the rebels the opposite side, with the river and bridge being the battlefield.”

“For the time being, we will be playing rearguard, until an opportunity opens up… or until we can create one. Until then, keep an eye out for anything suspicious, and fulfill your orders to the letter.”

*******

I finally dug up my map of Ferdunan so I have names for the towns again!

Chapter 5-4

Marching was an… interesting experience. Another private—Garkhen was very surprised to see he was an orc—had helped him pack his tent and gear. The half-dragon had gotten the impression that the other private did not enjoy the duty, but he remained civil despite the irritation Garkhen could see in his body language.

The march itself was not altogether unpleasant. Garkhen had more than enough strength and endurance from his training to handle walking for miles with a heavy pack. What did get wearing was having to do so in a formation, in response to the shouted commands of the company’s officers. Garkhen was large for a dwarf, but found it difficult to keep in step with the rest of his assigned squad of longer-legged humans and elves and still keep up with them.

He was rather grateful that Lieutenant Ailill was not one of the officers assigned to his squad. Instead, the elf marched with the headquarters unit in the middle of their formation—a sign, he supposed, of the elven healer’s value to the company. Instead, Garkhen had only to endure the voice of a human sergeant, who seemed to spread about criticisms of the troops under his watchful eye equally.

As they marched, Garkhen had an opportunity to see more of Telarnen’s Company. They seemed an unusually mixed group—mostly humans, it was true, but with a number of elves, and even a few dwarves (who did not seem to have so much trouble as Garkhen with marching). The orcish private who had assisted Garkhen was one of perhaps half a dozen individuals of orcish decent in the company, and once he even glimpsed an Aphani reporting to the Captain. If he counted himself as a representative of dragonkind, only trolls out of all the sentient races of Draezoln were absent from the Company.

The ground they covered was mostly open, with occasional wooded depressions or small rises. Much of it was farmland, though they avoided this, instead keeping to grassy areas that Garkhen supposed were normally used as pastures. For now, they saw flocks and herds only in the distance, their owners keeping them safely away from the marching soldiers.

After a few days, they reached a deeply rutted road, and turned north-west to follow it. Soon the terrain around them grew rougher, the fields and pastures fading into forested hills. The Company assumed a tighter formation, one which would fit in the cleared area around the road when the trees crowded thickly on either side.

Shortly they reached a small town and made camp. The officers went into the town, while the rest of the Company camped outside the stockade wall around the settlement. From what Garkhen could gather, this town was being used as something of a headquarters for the forces loyal to the King of Ferdunan, and the Captain with his officers was consulting with the general in residence here.

While they camped, Lt. Ailill set Garkhen to work again. Injured soldiers from the front trickled into the town every day, and every healer in the area was required to attend to them. Here, the elf did use a little bit of healing magic, but only on the most severe cases. Never did he instruct Garkhen to use his skills with spell-prayers.

Garkhen was not entirely alone in serving under Lt. Ailill. Three humans served with him, two under-priests and one priest of Mashano. Their relationship with their elven superior seemed little better than Garkhen’s, and Ailill generally left them to their own devices, giving them only occasional commands. Sometimes one of the less severely injured soldiers would be drafted into service as an assistant, but these temporary assignments never lasted more than a day.

While Garkhen did feel he was of use, he neither felt that he was being used well, nor that he was learning much under the elven healer. His tasks were too basic to learn much of thhe healer’s art, and in truth could have been accomplished by anyone capable of following orders. His spell-prayers were never called upon, and he had little time for training in other things.

The only exception was a daily hour of weapons training with one of the Company’s sergeants, another dwarf, Sergeant Hammerfall. Garkhen rather doubted this was truly his name, but he considered himself sadly ignorant of the culture of dwarves despite his blood, and so could not say for certain if his impression was valid. Whatever the case, Sgt. Hammerfall saw to it that Garkhen was sufficiently bruised and fatigued every evening to fall into a deep sleep when he finally retired to his tent. Sometimes the skills he was supposedly teaching seemed a secondary goal to this first one, but Garkhen did feel he was slowly becoming somewhat proficient with his mace.

It was less than a week before they moved on again, this time marching almost due north through dense forests. A few more days brought them to their destination. Marching into the sunlight from his place on the Company’s tree-shaded flank, Garkhen looked down into a broad river valley, and straight ahead of them a fair-sized city. Even from this distance, the smoke and movement within the city told the story—the field of battle lay before them.

******

This chapter has not turned out as I expected. We’ll see what the next chapter will bring.

Chapter 5-3

Garkhen headed in the direction indicated, looking about as he did so. Soon he found what he sought—two pairs of tongs, suited for helping him not burn his hands as he retrieved the pots. The elf snorted as Garkhen returned.

“I suppose you’re not an idiot, either. The number of recruits who have burned themselves following that order…” Lieutenant Ailill shook his head.

The Lieutenant kept his new subordinate quite busy the rest of the day with all manner of menial tasks. Once or twice Garkhen assisted him in changing some bandages, but in truth there were few patients, and only one or two new ones. From what the new Private could gather, the company was currently just training, waiting for orders from the army they were working for to move out.

However, that did not keep Ailill from finding an endless list of tasks for the half-dragon to complete. Somehow, there was always something more to do, but Garkhen did it all without complaint. Sometimes he thought his superior was pleased by this, and sometimes he felt the elf was trying to anger him, but Garkhen preferred to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Lieutenant Ailill finally released the half-dragon when the sun was almost entirely below the horizon. Another Private led him to a small tent that was to be his during his time in Telarnen’s Band. There was nothing in it but some straw covered by a rough blanket. Garkhen supposed this was meant for sleeping upon, and truly he was tired, though not so fatigued as he often had been after a day of training under Solkh’Tolkharkha. Soon he had removed his armor and lay down upon the straw. It was comfortable enough, he supposed, and was soon asleep.

The next week was much like the first day had been, though Lt. Ailill slowly trusted Garkhen more with the actual work of caring for the sick and wounded. Still, he had not used any magic despite the symbol marking him as a priest, and so Garkhen also refrained from calling upon Bahamut. And in truth, the injuries sustained during training were minor enough that it would have seemed inappropriate to do so.

The time did give Garkhen an opportunity to learn about the company to which he had been joined, and the conflict in which they were enlisted. Apparently, while Telarnen’s Band (as it seemed to be unofficially called) was a mercenary group in name, in truth the Captain only accepted contracts for conflicts he deemed just. The half-dragon still disliked the idea of mercenary work, but if such was his lot, he supposed this was better than most alternatives.

Oddly, Garkhen could learn little about the war they were to fight in. He did learn they were in the nation of Ferdunan, in the northwest of the Southern Continent of Draezoln. It was a monarchy, but one in which power was shared with the noble class. Apparently the nation had recently had the misfortune of being under a number of rather inept monarchs, and the more power-hungry nobles had taken advantage of the opportunity to rise up against him.

Garkhen was just starting to feel slightly at home when the word came for them to move out. They had been ordered to the front.

*******

In case you’re wondering, Garkhen was accustomed until now to sleeping on stone. Half-dragon/half-dwarves can put up with that, though they don’t enjoy it as much as a full dragon.

Chapter 5-2

What do you actually know about healing.” The way Lieutenant Ailill spoke made his question more of a scornful statement of disbelief.

Garkhen took a moment to calm himself. It was clear the elf wished to anger him, and Garkhen was just as determined not to become angry.

“I have some skill in spell-prayers of healing…” he began.

“But no actual knowledge of it. Bah! Might as well be another bumbling child from some human village. But if the Captain says you are under my command, then I will make the best of you I can. Can you at least follow orders?”

“Yes, sir,” Garkhen replied, quietly.

Lieutenant Ailill snorted. “I suppose that will do. Then my first order is to go fetch the pot of water off the fire. I need to clean some bandages. Some of my patients are due to have theirs replaced.”

*****

Short post because. Good night.